Gopher is making a comeback

19/06/2018 § Leave a comment

Before NCSA Mosaic, before Netscape Navigator, before HTTP was the de facto protocol for reaching internet content, there was the Gopher protocol, designed for searching, distributing, and retrieving files via tunnels and holes through the network.  Gopher has been described by some enthusiasts as “faster and more efficient and so much more organised” than today’s Web services. The Gopher protocol is still in use by enthusiasts, and although it has been almost entirely supplanted by the Web, a small population of actively-maintained servers remains. In fact, one of the gopher sites where I post shows new members weekly: 2% growth per week.

Floodgap Systems is instrumental in fostering the resurgence of Gopher. Its Overbite WX is a “WebExtensions-compatible” add-on for Mozilla Firefox that brings back Gopher support to Firefox Quantum by automatically connecting Gopher URLs you type and click on.

Cameron Kaiser of the Overbite Project has an essay answering the questions “Why still use Gopher? What makes Gopher relevant?

“Gopher represents the ability to bring an interconnected browsing experience to low-computing-power environments. Rather than the expense of large hosting power and bandwidth, Gopher uses an inexpensive protocol to serve and a trivial menuing format to parse, making it cost-effective for both client and server. Gopher sites can be hosted and downloaded effectively on bandwidth-constrained networks such as dialup and even low-speed wireless…”

Sometimes all an internet surfer wants is a URI without ads, JavaScript, or third-party trackers, or a streamlined content delivery experience without cluttering search engine optimization strategies, without having to change browsers to access http URLs rather than the secure HTTPS websites. I love plaintext and simplicity so Gopher seems like the way of the future for free content.  People using command-line browsers that support the Gopher protocol, like lynx, can access gopher resources without need for add-ons like Overbite WX.

“Modern Gopherspace represents the next and greatest way for alternative information access, and the new generation of Gopher maintainers demonstrate a marked grassroots desire for a purer way to get to high-quality resources. Not simply nostalgia for the “way it used to be,” modern Gopherspace is a distinctly different population than in the mid 1990s when it flourished, yet one on which modern services can still be found, from news and weather to search engines, personal pages, “phlogs” and file archives.”

Gopher links to try:


Using your browser to explore gopherspace

Tips for publishing on SDF

Good Gopher Documentation:


Upgrading to Linux 17.3 Rosa

09/01/2016 § Leave a comment

Hay un montón de sistemas operativos en el mundo, pero ¿alguna vez has visto un Linux que es de color rosa?
Pat Harrington Jr, whom we lost on January 6, was one of the credited voices for the 1969 Pink Panther Show. If you like the original theme you can hear Doug Goodwin’s recording of his composition.

Firstly, I did this the slow and careful way. I made backups onto my WDD Passport. I even backed up my Raspberry Pi files and exported my Firefox bookmarks into an HTML file onto my USB drive. I used the Backup Tool to backup my software selection sources and my files. I used the Community tutorial, though and not the simple upgrade method here. I reformatted and overwrote my partitions as I have a dual-boot. My ntfs partition is safe.

As I type this, the terminal is running sudo apt-get upgrade. Bleachbit on the desktop works but Tor Browser does not (reinstalls Tor Browser, moves it to desktop, it works!). A few of my software packages (i2p, Atom) did not survive the installation but they’re free and non-critical.

The important thing is that I backed up successfully and showed I can read directions and find other things to do while the backup tool is doing its thing.
Firefox has retained my personal privacy settings, insure DuckDuckGo, StartPage, are among the top search engines.

I have found that my sound went away twice (solved with sudo alsa force-reload) as did my X-Windows (sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg) or (sudo apt-get install –reinstall xserver-xorg).

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